Association between cytokines and cerebral MRI changes in the aging brain

J Geriatr Psychiatry Neurol. 2009 Mar;22(1):23-34. doi: 10.1177/0891988708328216. Epub 2009 Feb 4.


The association between cytokines (IL-1 beta, sIL-4R, IL-6, IL-8, IL-10, IL-12, TNF-alpha) and subcortical white matter lesions, cortical atrophy and lacunar infarctions of the aging brain was investigated among 268 elderly community participants. Single pro- and anti-inflammatory cytokines were neither associated with WML nor with atrophy and lacunar infarction. An association between atrophy and the chemokine-cytokine factor (containing sIL-4R, IL-6, IL-8) remained significant after adjustment for age, gender, education, depressive symptoms, diabetes mellitus, cardiovascular diseases (stroke, TIA, myocardial infarction, myocardial insufficiency, arrhythmic heart), hypertension, body-mass index, smoking status and aggregation inhibitors as opposed to single cytokines. Atrophy of the parietal, temporal and occipital lobes was associated with the same cytokine-chemokine factor for both the whole sample or restricted to those without history of stroke/TIA. The results indicate that a combination of chemokine-cytokines rather than single cytokines may contribute to inflammatory processes associated with cortical atrophy in the aging brain.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Age Distribution
  • Aged
  • Aging / metabolism*
  • Atrophy / diagnosis
  • Atrophy / epidemiology
  • Brain / metabolism*
  • Brain / pathology
  • Brain Infarction / diagnosis
  • Brain Infarction / epidemiology
  • Comorbidity
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Cytokines / blood*
  • Diabetes Mellitus / diagnosis
  • Diabetes Mellitus / epidemiology
  • Enzyme-Linked Immunosorbent Assay
  • Female
  • Germany / epidemiology
  • Humans
  • Hypertension / diagnosis
  • Hypertension / epidemiology
  • Interleukins / blood
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging / methods*
  • Male
  • Myocardial Infarction / diagnosis
  • Myocardial Infarction / epidemiology
  • Odds Ratio
  • Principal Component Analysis
  • Sex Distribution
  • Stroke / diagnosis
  • Stroke / epidemiology


  • Cytokines
  • Interleukins